Booting Up Vintage Computer Systems – The Fun of it All

Starting and “booting up”. Vintage computers and electronic technology. You may have purchased a “vintage computer system” at a local garage sale. One schmendrick even found what he thought were four “valuable computers “in the garbage behind his house. He thought that he had come across the venerable “pot of gold”. Sad to say that even relatively modern Pentium 3’s that given enough throw away ram can actually run Windows XP and certainly Windows 2000 or 98 era technology are now considered only Electrician Tools Klein worthwhile as door stoppers or boat anchors. Yet you may well want to turn on and run that older vintage computer either just for the fun or it , to run older vintage computer and arcade type games or just because at the time you always wanted such a setup , your brother or neighbor had a powerful 386 or 486 pre Pentium vintage computer. It was something you always wanted, yet could never consider. Voila here it is in your hands, or trunk of your car. How do you set it up and turn it on.
First of all it is a standard setup as today’s more modern technologically advanced units. Unpack the devices you have. Attach a monitor – even a new LCD screen if the setup did not come with the older CRT cathode ray tube bulky monitor. Your computer may take relatively standard keyboard and a mouse. If the keyboard port on the back of your computer has a larger port than your current computer – you will need either an “AT” adapter or a relatively rarer AT keyboard with that larger port connection. If you have a standard PS/2 round port for the mouse, good. If not you may require what is called a “serial mouse” or a “PS/2 to serial mouse converter” so that you can use your current standard mouse. Hopefully the computer package you purchased, found or were given comes complete.
Now that the setup is complete plug in a standard computer power cord press in the switch and hopefully you are off to the races.
The computer should boot up. You should see an entry screen or set of screens with lettering. Voila you may see an older version of windows pop up or at the least what is called a prompt or “dos prompt”. The evolution of the personal computer PC software technologies was from simple text based DOS (Disc Operating System) which formed the profitable basis of Microsoft’s empire , to the early version of the Graphic User Interface -point to pictures on the screen with your mouse , Windows. The first well accepted in the popular mainstream version of Windows that became most well accepted was Windows 3.1, although it was first introduced before an update as Windows 3.0. Unlike current versions of Windows which are one integral package, the earlier versions of Microsoft Windows were a separate program, a shell, which sat on top of the working DOS program. This is essence is very similar to what current versions of the Linux operating system are set up. With a basic operating system having a GUI Graphic User Interface running separately on top of the base stand alone system. It’s not that primitive if you think of Linux’s use of the setup. It is akin to having more control of your vehicle with a manual transmission as opposed to an all inclusive automatic transmission on your car.
Now that you are your dos prompt you should see a: (colon following) or better yet c. (colon). Type the phrase “win” (without the quotation marks), and hit the enter key. If Windows 3 or version 3.1 is installed on your powerful setup, that version of Microsoft Windows may well start up. If you are at the a: prompt type c: (colon), hit the enter key and you should be at the c prompt. If you still have no result type autoexec or . At the worst the computer should start up or reboot.
Its all about fun and enjoyment of technology and technologies. Think of what that bunch of electronics cost in its day. Perhaps its time to move on to newer CPUs, large (huge) hard drives or even sophisticated specialized gaming systems be it the Wii, PS3 or Xbox360. Still it’s a lot of fun to play around with the old stuff.
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